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Thread: Worried Gramma

  1. #1

    Default Worried Gramma

    My daughter just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and is breastfeeding the baby....sort of. At the hospital, my daughter was given a shield, supposedly because her nipples weren't big enough and she continued to use the shield at home. Dad has taken the week off and is a very willing parent, but maybe he's a little too involved. At only 4 days old Mom and Dad thought it a good idea to introduce the baby to formula. The next day the baby was having so many bowel movements I told my daughter she should call the pediatrician because it wasn't normal. This was before I was told that the baby had been getting formula in addition to breast milk.

    The doctor wanted to see the baby and my daughter and her husband took her into the office. The doctor told them everything appears to be fine and the frequent bowel movements could be from overhydration, something I've never heard before. The doctor also said adding formula was OK. Or at least that is what I've been told.

    The baby is now 8 days old and I think Dad is giving her formula at night so Mom can sleep. While visiting today, my daughter had pumped milk and when the baby was hungry fed the baby from a bottle instead of her breast. My remarks that she should be feeding the baby from her breast, not from a bottle and certainly not adding formula because it is going to affect her milk production are not being accepted by either Mom or Dad and I had to walk away or get into an argument with the two of them. Dad says he was a formula baby and didn't suffer any ill affects and both Mom and Dad seem to believe the pediatrician is OK with this. But my biggest concern is that I don't think it normal for my daughter to be what appears to me an avoidance of contact with her child and as she has a history of an axiety disorder I am really concerned that what is going on here is related to postpartum depression. She has had one meltdown since she's gotten home and seems to allow Dad to take over 50% of the child care which includes changing and feeding.

    I breastfed both my kids, and am certainly no expert, but the only time anyone but myself fed them was if for some reason I was not available to them. That came when they were months old, not days old. I'm getting a bad feeling about all of this and although the new Dad is proving to be a great and willing parent he is going back to work and my daughter is going to have to become a more involved then she is currently. What is a grandmother can I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Worried Gramma

    It sounds like a hard situation. From what you're saying it seems as though they are not going to want to hear any advice from you. If they will listen at all maybe you can get her to talk to someone who knows more about breastfeeding. The pediatrician is obviously not the best person. Do you think she really feels strongly about wanting to breastfeed and is just letting the father take the lead? I tend to be depressed and after I had my first child I let his father take over a lot as well. I can tell you from experience that it made me feel worse, not better. Does she know the positives of breastfeeding as it relates to her mood, bonding with baby, etc?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Worried Gramma

    I totally understand your concern and frustration! I am curious if you ever discussed breastfeeding with your daughter while she was pregnant and what her attitude was then. If she was sort of take it or leave it, that may be your answer. Some moms just are not that interested in breastfeeding. Other times moms who really wanted to breastfeed find life with a newborn so overwhelming they will do anything to get some sleep etc. Do you know if she had issues early on-painful latch, concerns baby was not getting enough etc?

    Unfortunately it is the rare pediatrician who will point out the pitfalls of unnecessarily formula or bottle feeding.

    Anyway, while I understand you wanting to do something, I think that if your daughter does not want to breastfeed (or wishes to combine breastfeeding with bottles of pumped milk and formula, despite that very likely leading to an early end of breastfeeding) that is her right and her choice. Nursing your babies was your choice and I am sure you resented anyone pushing you to formula feed! You have given her the info that this approach will likely harm milk supply, cause nipple confusion, etc....what she does with this info is up to her.

    If you think your daughter does want to breastfeed and is being undermined in her desire to do so, and/or is having depression related dissociation from her baby-well, that may require a different approach. Maybe you can try to have a supportive discussion with her, making it about your concern for her health and happiness and leaving breastfeeding out of it since that is becoming a sore point. Maybe share with her how overwhelming it was for you as a new mother, how tired you got, etc. as an opening. If talking with you is difficult, you could suggest she discuss her feelings with her OB or someone else she trusts. Yes, as pp points out, there is evidence that nursing helps with post partum depression and early unwanted cessation of breastfeeding can be even more difficult for a depressed mom. But again, if your daughter and SIL are not open to that information, I don’t know what else you can do...You don’t want things to become so contentious you are not welcome there when your daughter and your grandchild need you.

    Is there a LLL meeting in your area and would your daughter even consider attending? You could reassure her it is entirely OK to go to a LLL meeting while ambivalent about nursing and/or combo or bottle feeding. If a meeting seems too overwhelming, maybe she will consider talking to a LLL Leader on the phone-a Local leader or any Leader. Again, our purpose is not to convince anyone to breastfeed but to support all moms and, as best we can, answer their questions about breastfeeding with the most up to date, evidence and research based information.

    Here are some links to info about breastfeeding but again, I am not sure if YOU giving these to your daughter or SIL will help or hurt at this point…

    Breastfeeding/formula feeding comparison http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...tgoodsense.pdf

    Ideas for dad of the breastfed baby: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf

    New mothers need so much to be mothered themselves, and you obviously are eager to be of help to your family. I would hate to see your daughter miss out on all the support and appreciation you can give her during this difficult time because you guys have this disagreement…

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